Tag Archives: Rules

The Rules

Afghan children playing soccer in front of the ruined Darul Aman Palace on the outskirts of Kabul from www.dawn.com/news/1050835

Afghan children playing soccer in front of the ruined Darul Aman Palace on the outskirts of Kabul from http://www.dawn.com/news/1050835

When we were children and the game wouldn’t go our way
We would reinvent the rules of the game so that we might win
And others around us would cry out unfair, you changed the rules
But in our childish foolishness we believed we were masters of the game
And the rules could be bent to serve our needs and wants and desires
In a world that was bound in an orbit with us at the center
 
Yet, when we were older the rules became hardened in the game of life
Others stepped in as referees ensuring that we played by some rulebook
We were never allowed to study or read but which defined the roles
We were expected to play in work, at home, in relationship and in life
And if we dared to cry out that the rules were unfair we would be penalized
For the rules couldn’t be bent to serve our wants and needs and desires
In a world that was bound in an orbit where we are not the center
 
But sometimes the game of life breaks us leaving us shattered on the field
The rules we tried to work within only served to beat us down and confine us
The game became a sentence in which we were expected to serve our term
And the referees became the warden keeping us imprisoned within our cells
For the rules were there to keep a check on our wants and needs and desires
In a world that was binds us in orbit to someone else’s sun
 
But sometimes there is wisdom in childhood in knowing the rules can change
In reinventing the rules that don’t work and ignoring the self-appointed referees
In playing a game where we might flourish and our lives matter
Where we can once again believe that we are the masters of the game
And the rules could be bent to serve our needs and wants and desires
In a world no longer forced to orbit around someone else’s star

 

Wisdom of Story Reflection 1: The Roles and Rules of the World

When an author tells a story one of the first things they have to do is place their characters in roles and in a world that has rules. The rules and roles will be different based upon the character and the world. A young wizard in a world where magical things are possible will have different roles and rules than an old cowboy riding into the old West. Even within the same world the rules can be different. A private in the army, for example, operates under different rules and certainly a different role than a general. Rules and roles work in a story because it imitates our life. Often the roles we play are second nature, like the feel of clothing on top of our skin that we no longer notice and the rules are as much a part of the environment we live in as the air we breathe.

The rules that we live within are dependent on the numerous roles we play within our lives. Some are gender determined: there are different cultural expectations for men and women. Men are shown from a young age to put their work above everything else (even family), to not express pain or weakness, and that the cultural expected role is for them to be the provider. Some rules come out of one’s place within a family: a young son or daughter should have different rules and constraints than a teenager or a young adult. Some rules come from the organizations and work that one is a part of. In my life the expectations as a military officer and later as a pastor were very different, for example language that was assumed to be a part of the life in the military are no longer considered appropriate in a more ‘holy’ calling by many.

Rules are not bad, we need rules to make sense of our lives and world. However, there are times where they can become stifling. Roles may fit us like a second skin or we may feel like we are continually wearing a mask that covers up our true self. Often these parts of our lives are invisible until a major change comes that changes the rules and roles. Things that we may have assumed to be true about our lives no longer hold up under the stress of the changes that go on within our lives.

So what do we do when the rules no longer work and the role we once played no longer fits. That is where the hard part of the story begins. Much like the people of Israel on their long Exodus from Egypt we may long to return to the places we knew and the security we once had (even though it might have been its own type of enslavement). Yet, in a story this is act 2, the challenging part of the story where a crisis pushes the protagonist to find our something new about themselves. If a person is in that part of their life it doesn’t feel like a story, it may feel like chaos or freefall. Yet all stories have a beginning point, a Launchpad so to speak and the rules and initial roles are that solid ground that retreats away on the expedition into the scary unknown frontier.

 

These meditations are based upon the Courageworks course, the Wisdom of Story taught by Brené Brown and Glennon Doyle Melton. This is my reflections after session 1.